Frontier Airlines has been accused of antisemitism after removing an Orthodox Jewish family from a Miami to Newark flight on Sunday night over allegations that their 18-month-old child wasn’t wearing a face mask. The airline has denied the incident erupted because of the child and said the family were removed because “members of a large group, including adults, refused to wear masks”.
Video has since emerged of the family being removed from Frontier Airlines flight F9-2878 which had been preparing for departure from Miami bound for Newark on Sunday. During the time that the video was taken, all of the family members are seen wearing approved face coverings except for the young child.
After other passengers got involved in the dispute, Frontier Airlines ended up deplaning the entire plane and the flight was eventually cancelled after tensions continued to simmer in the gate area.
Under recently approved federal rules, all airlines passengers aged two years and over must wear a face mask unless they are eating or drinking, or if they have a medical exemption. Airlines have, however, enforced similar rules for months – including a requirement that young children wear face masks.
The requirement to make toddlers wear a face mask has put other families in a difficult position in the past leading to several high-profile incidents because their young children couldn’t tolerate wearing a face mask.
While the U.S. rules are in line with similar policies introduced in Canada, Hong Kong and elsewhere, many European countries only enforce face mask requirements on children aged six and over. In the United Kingdom, the rule isn’t enforced until children reach 11 years old.
In a statement, Frontier Airlines said it made “repeated requests” to the family to comply with federal rules but continued non-compliance “necessitated their removal from the flight”.
Law enforcement was called to the plane which in turn led to other passengers getting involved and arguing with flight attendants. As a result, Frontier Airlines deplaned all passengers where the dispute continued in the gate area.
The flight was eventually cancelled and passengers have now been booked on alternative flights. The family at the center of the incident are said to be traveling to New York on an alternative carrier.
Frontier Airlines has since been bombarded with social media allegations of antisemitism – an allegation that the airline denies, saying its staff were only trying to comply with federal face mask rules.
Photo Credit: Frontier Airlines / Video Credit: @OJPAC via Twitter
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.